Mariucci: Lynch will not repeat mistakes of Millen

Mariucci: Lynch will not repeat mistakes of Millen

HOUSTON – Steve Mariucci has experience working as a head coach with a general manager who came straight from the broadcast booth after a lengthy playing career.

“Yes, I do,” Mariucci told CSNBayArea.com.

Mariucci knows why things went so poorly when Matt Millen took over as the Detroit Lions’ top football executive in 2001. And he also believes John Lynch has the temperament and self-awareness to avoid those mistakes in his role as 49ers general manager.

Two years into the job, Millen fired Marty Mornhinweg as head coach and hired Mariucci shortly after the 49ers were eliminated in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

Mariucci went 15-28 before Millen fired him after 12 games of their third season together.

Millen lasted seven seasons, during which time the team compiled a 31-81 record. Moreover, with a roster comprised mostly of players Millen acquired, the Lions went 0-16 the season after Millen was fired.

There are two major differences, as Mariucci sees it, in the comparison of Millen and Lynch, who is also coming directly from working as a TV analyst.

“Matt made all of the decisions,” Mariucci said. “John will listen.”

Lynch does not figure to make all of the decisions with the 49ers. It will likely be a collaborative effort with the 49ers under Lynch’s direction that will include much influence from presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan and newly hired vice president of player personnel Adam Peters.

“The only thing he doesn’t have is experience,” Mariucci said of Lynch. “But he’ll gain it as he goes. He’s one of those guys, if he doesn’t know something, he’ll ask. And he’s got a lot of friends in the business, and he’ll be a quick study.

“He’s a great worker. He will do whatever it takes. He’s one of those guys who won’t look at the clock. He’s going to say, ‘This needs to get done’ or ‘I need to learn this, and I’m going to leave no stones unturned.’ He’s got that in him. That’s why I believe in John Lynch.”

The 49ers announced the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke shortly after the conclusion of a 2-14 season, which included a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.

Shanahan was involved in the process to hire Lynch as general manager on Sunday. Shanahan also took part in interviews last weekend with Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough and Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton while the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator had a break in his preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

“I don’t know Kyle as well as I know his dad,” Mariucci said of Shanahan. “But I know he’s good at what he does. He’s one of those guys who grinds and works. He’s been around it long enough to see how an organization should function.”

Lynch and Shanahan will both receive six-year contracts, sources told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan will become the fourth 49ers coach in four seasons, following Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, who both lasted only one year apiece.

“They’re giving them long-term contracts, which I think they need, because this is not a quick fix in San Francisco,” Mariucci said. “It’s going to be a gradual process. That’s what Chip Kelly understood it was going to be – a gradual process.

“They didn’t spend a lot of their $42 million in salary cap space, so they got to spend that and draft and acquire the right personnel. And that will happen over time.”

NFL rumors: Antonio Brown, Jerry Rice push idea of receiver's trade to 49ers


NFL rumors: Antonio Brown, Jerry Rice push idea of receiver's trade to 49ers

Sorry, 49ers fans, but Mike Garafolo is here to harsh your mellow.

The NFL Media reporter recently said on TSN's "SC with Jay and Dan" that there's no sense the 49ers will strongly pursue a trade for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. In fact, the whole notion of a deal is being driven by Brown and a 49ers legend.

"I'm told it's just Jerry Rice and Antonio Brown, who are pretty tight, putting this out there, trying to lay the groundwork for it," Garafolo said on the Canadian sports show. "The 49ers really haven't pursued it to that extent. The Steelers really haven't had any trade talks with teams at this point, so this is still going to develop going forward."

Rice has said Brown badly wants to play for the 49ers and that the team should "go for it," but the decision rests with general manager John Lynch, who remains silent on the topic. 49ers fans, however, have been vocal about their desire to have Brown on the team, so between that and a Hall of Famer's prodding, perhaps momentum toward a move can be made.

But there's more ...

Garafolo added that the Steelers aren't ruling out Brown staying with the team, although it will take some "groveling" from the receiver. And if we know anything about NFL stars who reportedly cause locker-room rifts, demand trades and drop social media hints about joining other teams, it's that groveling isn't part of the equation.

Until the Steelers publicly say Brown isn't going anywhere -- and owner Art Rooney had that chance earlier this week --- 49ers fans will continue to dream. After all, the GOAT has spoken.

Antonio Brown's tweet thanking Steelers fans doesn't end trade rumors


Antonio Brown's tweet thanking Steelers fans doesn't end trade rumors

Antonio Brown sent a tweet that he claimed was a thank you, not a goodbye, to Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

It sure as heck read like a farewell letter, though.

Brown's Saturday night Twitter post featured a video of him being carried off with a calf injury in a 2017 game against the Patriots, with Steelers fans loudly cheering him, along with a message.

It's unlikely those same fans now would rain down MVP chants on Brown, who has made it clear he's ready for a new team. So whether this tweet simply was an attempt to mend fences with Pittsburgh fans or a sign that a trade indeed is in the works remains to be seen. Responses to the tweet speculated about both possibilities.

Fans across the NFL, including those in the Bay, are salivating at the prospect of Brown taking the top off defenses for their teams. In particular, Brown added to the 49ers' 2019 core of Jimmy Garroppolo, Jerick McKinnon and George Kittle sounds enticing, but the pending transaction price and the real root of the wide receiver's beef in Pittsburgh aren't known.

Brown's recent Twitter activity seem to indicate he has the 49ers on his mind, and that idea also has Hall of Fame-level supporters. Turning that idea into reality, though, likely will be harder than it seems. It always is when All-Pro talent, reported locker-room fractures and trade demands are involved.

So The Faithful wait. Still.